Daily Dose of Arginine: 15g
Present in smaller amounts in our food, arginine is an amino acid that has many health benefits. Arginine helps to deliver nitric oxide to our blood stream, which expands our blood vessels and facilitates greater nutrient delivery. For this reason, arginine can be taken before workouts to aid in recovery and increase the “pump” that one gets from lifting weights. It can be found naturally in many fish and meats.
Arginine has been widely studied and has been shown to even work as a therapy for coronary heart disease. Because of the blood vessels expanding and better circulation, symptoms of clogged arteries and chest pain symptoms can be improved. Beyond that, it is important for protein synthesis and in the urea system. Arginine helps the kidneys remove waste products from the body. This can be extremely useful for improving kidney function after a kidney transplant. Arginine is also effective for treating erectile dysfunction due to its effect on blood vessels. Another use for arginine is that it can also be applied topically on the skin to help wounds heal faster. For patients with diabetes, arginine can be applied to cold hands and feet to increase blood flow. Take 5 grams of arginine three times daily for best results.
So what are amino acids? Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 amino acids, which can be categorized as either essential or nonessential, essential meaning that our bodies do not synthesize them ourselves. The essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The non-essential amino acids, meaning that our bodies also synthesize them, are alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine, asparagine, and selenocysteine. All proteins are made up of chains of these 20 amino acids, in different combinations to create various folding patterns.
- Barbul A. Arginine: biochemistry, physiology, and therapeutic implications. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1986 Mar-Apr;10(2):227-38. PMID: 3514981.
- Palmer RM, Rees DD, Ashton DS, Moncada S. L-arginine is the physiological precursor for the formation of nitric oxide in endothelium-dependent relaxation. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1988 Jun 30;153(3):1251-6. PMID: 3390182.